Blamed on inadequate BIA Law EnforcementPresident Rynalea Pena with the concurrence of the Tribal Council wrote to the three members of the Montana Congressional delegation (Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Gregg Gianforte) requesting a formal inquiry with federal law enforcement regarding deaths of tribal members, including three in 2020 and one in 2018.
The tribal members who died under suspicious circumstances include: 1) Lonnie Flatness, an elder and retired Marine, violently murdered in his own home; 2) Christy Woodenthigh, a mother of three children who was run over and killed by a vehicle; 3) Kamani Littlebird, allegedly found hanging under suspicious circumstances and 4) in 2018, Henny Scott, age 18 found frozen to death under suspicious circumstances. To date, there have been no investigative results, charges or prosecutions. The suspects remain at-large and these deaths have had a unsettling effect upon the small close-knit reservation community. In its letter the Tribe complains about the lack of information provided to them or to the victim’s families. Small also expressed frustration about getting information from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “They won’t answer me,” he said, “wanting everything in a Freedom of Information Act request forwarded to the Central Office.” Apparently, this applies to the Tribal Government as well. Small was, however, able to ferret out some startling information. Normally with a B.I.A. force of about 12 officers, the Northern Cheyenne Agency is now down to a handful (five or less, including the Area Office which has two officers who can be dispatched daily to areas that are short-handed). The Northern Cheyenne Agency has not been fully staffed since 2013 and Small wants to know where that savings went and if there is a contingency plan.
Today the Northern Cheyenne Tribe submitted this official letter to Senator Steve Daines , Senator Jon Tester and...Posted by Lane Spotted Elk- Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council on Thursday, July 30, 2020
Clara Caufield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright permission Native Sun News Today
Join the Conversation